If you haven’t yet seen “Nursery University,” you have to. It’s like a train wreck that you just can’t take your eyes off of.
My first impression was that it was a fake documentary in the vein of “Best in Show” because I didn’t think people could genuinely become this obsessed over being awarded the privilege of spending $17,000 per SEMESTER for Preschool.
All so their child could fingerpaint and assemble puzzles before applying to Harvard.
These parents acted as though their children risked spending the rest of their unemployable lives in a cardboard box if they weren’t accepted by Highbrow University. Fearing that any and all future academic potential could be squandered, they treated the process with the same passion and panic as someone trying to get their child into the top Ivy League schools.
As their child sat in a corner blowing snot bubbles and babbling to the cat, the parents labored over admission papers and even threatened to move out of New York City if they were rejected. Because seriously, how can you show your face in Bloomingdales if your child isn’t doodling with the best?
These parents furiously completed numerous applications, sought help from Preschool Acceptance Advisers (yes, this IS a career), and one dude even broke out a Thesaurus hoping to score the perfect word for his essay. The pretentiousness was dripping midway through the film, yet I found myself only wanting more. If only to see just how far off the ledge these parents could step without plummeting into the lap of reality.
As I listened to the interviews given by school administrators (people treated in the same reverence as the Pope and sometimes God himself), I wondered what would have transpired if we had strolled in one day with Kamryn in tow.
Two parents were somewhat embarrassed that their toddler only spoke two languages. Kamryn has yet to master one.
Two other parents appeared to hyperventilate as they watched their child fumble with a backwards puzzle piece in the presence of an interviewer. They played it off all cool and calm but I have to imagine that child is now sitting on the Returns shelf at Saks Fifth Avenue.
The interviewer would ask questions like, “What does your child hope to get from Arrogance House?”
While my answer would have been “Raisins,” these parents waxed poetic buzzwords such as diversity, personal fulfillment, and social enrichment. This caused the interviewer to nod, which sparked a verbal frenzy of fancy words from parents who thought they had one on the hook. By the end of the interview I believe they were speaking Latin.
Parents and interviewers alike were so impressed with each child’s ability to speak fluently, enunciate properly, and maintain focus. Well, I can tell you right now that if these are prerequisites for admission to “The SnootyPie School for Future Elitist Blowhards” then Kamryn would probably be the first one rejected.
On the plus side, we’d save $34,000 a year. But it’s kind of a bummer to know that all of her academic potential would be clubbed to death before she even learned to tie her shoes.
We’ve never really been the type of parents to obsess over perfection. I’m living proof that you can meander through life being far less than perfect in every facet of your existence and yet still revel in happiness and blessings.
So when our daughter mispronounces words, we don’t admonish her for it. We simply tell her the proper way to say it. To which she’ll stare back blankly wondering why we’re interrupting her story.
Usually, we just let her speak, knowing full well that we’re the only ones able to comprehend her gibberish. And sometimes, an incorrectly pronounced word turns out to be one of the cutest things on the planet. A word that’s far too adorable to rectify. Even if it means we’re sacrificing her spot at a prestigiously overpriced Manhattan Preschool.
So when Kamryn walks around the house singing and mangling the alphabet, we let her. It’s not the end of the world, and I really don’t think she needs to be stopped and corrected at each and every turn. We pick our battles and while we do teach her new words, correct words, and share how to properly pronounce words, we do have a little library of words we’re happy to wait out.
After all, she won’t sit at the dinner table asking for a “fork” and a “foon” forever.
So even though she’s unable to sing her ABC’s perfectly at the age of three, we’re not worried. We still have time. And I’m pretty sure she’ll nail it before her college interviews.
So for now? I say sing away, Sweetheart.
H-I-J-K-and a Lemon P…
Q is S, T is V. W-S, Y-Z…
Now I (incoherent babble) long with me!”
Aren’t these kinds of moments the reason we even have children? I mean, aside from scoring free labor and all?
We had the same philosophy with Andrew and Michael. We corrected words that mattered and left the adorable mistakes alone.
When Andrew was first starting to read he wanted to show me his “Psyduck” Pokemon card. He walked up, pointed at the card, and proudly said, “Look, Daddy. It’s Pissyduck.”
Phonetically, the kid was a genius. I couldn’t stifle that. We just let it roll and had him show off his card to my befuddled parents.
And when Michael was two and wanted to see something far, far away, he’d always ask to look through my “Finoculars”. Rather than correct him, we just handed them over.
When Michael wanted a cool glass of “nenade” on a hot summer day, we squeezed the lemons.
If Kamryn wants a “pockee-yay,” we’re the only people on earth that know she wants a popsicle.
Then there’s “nareware,” of which you have boxers and briefs. There’s “cancakes” with syrup, spending nights in “hoo-tels,” and the melt in your mouth not in your hands delight of “Lemon-M’s”.
And when Michael rapped his knuckles on our banister causing them to bleed, he cried, worried that he had broken his “finger ribs.”
You just can’t correct this stuff. Because once you do, the cute words are gone forever.
Selfish? Probably. Damaging? Doubtful. They grow out of it. And they’ll eventually and naturally learn the proper pronunciations.
Much to our dismay.
So what are some of your uncorrectable kid phrases? I know we can’t be alone in not pursuing absolute perfection.